In the 19th Century, 25 Thames sailing barges were built at Standard Quay in the Kentish market town of Faversham, a port since Roman times. These vessels and many hundreds of others like them helped build London, delivering bricks and timber to the capital’s docks.
Only around 30 Thames barges remain in sailing condition. Until recently Faversham’s Standard Quay was one of just two places in Britain with the facilities and expertise necessary to ensure their continued survival. But with the loss of this historic shipyard site, now earmarked for housing, shops and a restaurant, Maldon in Essex is their last remaining haven.
No longer a commercial waterway, Faversham Creek has carried no maritime trade for 30 years. Yet Standard Quay’s barge owners, enthusiasts and craftsmen kept the town’s maritime industry alive.
Sadly the last working has shipwright has gone and with a shopping mall planned for the quayside, the barges look set to follow.